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Category Archives for "Elite Athletes"

Behind the Scenes at the Olympics: Sports Psychologists and Positive Psychology
Aug 18

Behind the Scenes at the Olympics: Sports Psychologists and Positive Psychology

By Dr. Jack Singer | Applied Sports Psychology , Blog , Elite Athletes

I am so proud that my emerging field of “Sports Psychology” is always on display during the Olympics, as the US teams each have sport psychologists who specialize in their sport.

Now, I apply the exact same techniques for sales, HR, and Financial Professionals.  The article below was written by psychologist, Rodney L. Lowman.  He says it better than I can.

– Dr. Jack Singer


Guest Post by Psychologist Rodney L. Lowman

They christened themselves the “Final Five” in recognition that they would be the last U.S. gymnast team coached by Martha Karolyi, who will be retiring after the 2016 Summer Olympics after coaching gymnasts through 11 Olympic contests. As the required routines progressed, the U.S. gymnastic team’s scores became nearly insurmountable, winning 12 of 12 routines. The team beat out its closest rival, Russia, by a whopping 8.209 seconds.

Outstanding Olympic Athletes

All of the members of the gymnastics team were superstars delivering dramatic, near-flawless performances, but one, Simone Biles, particularly stood out. She has been dubbed the best gymnast ever but was not born into a life of privilege. Her single mother (now clean and sober) gave up her children due to drug addiction; her father, also an addict, had abandoned the family. Adopted by her maternal grandparents and subsequently raised in Houston, Biles owns more Olympic and world gold medals than any other female gymnast ever. She is 19.

There’s more. The “Final Five” (Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez, Madison Kocian and Aly Raisman) work together remarkably well as a team. They get along with and support one another, celebrate each other’s victories and console their misses.

Then there are the swimmers Ryan Phelps, age 31, and Michael Lochte, 32, having won to date 25 and 11 Olympic medals, respectively. And let us not overlook Kristin Armstrong, who turned 43 today, and who just made history by winning her third gold medal in timed cycling.

Behind-the-Scenes Champions: Sports Psychologists

We rightly credit the Olympic winners for their victories but behind the scenes are a myriad of coaches, trainers, medical staff, supportive families, and yes—sports psychologists. Little known fact: the U.S. Olympic Committee includes a Sport Psychology Team. It’s now become widely accepted for athletes to have a sports psychologist or performance coach.

Sports psychology is not new. Coleman Griffith worked in the field in the 1920s. Today, sports psychologists use a variety of techniques with athletes: relationship building, arousal regulation, mental imagery, focus-building and goal setting, enhancing self-efficacy and resilience, self-talk and support. Athletes, who face extraordinary stress and high stakes, where fractions of a second determine outcomes, perform better with psychology.

Many contemporary sports psychologists such as Joan Steidinger (running and cyclist), Gio Valiante (golf), and Caroline Silby (running and triathlon) were themselves accomplished athletes. Others, like Steven Bucky, have been counseling NFL athletes for years.

Positive Psychology Can Improve Your Career Too

All of this work reflects a move in psychology to focus on performance and achievement not just deficit and dysfunction. This is often called the positive psychology revolution, whose founders include Donald Clifton and Martin Seligman (“Learned Optimism”)—and those before them like Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow who concerned themselves with human happiness and well-being.

Salutogenesis – the promotion of health and well-being – is rapidly becoming an important theme in psychological research and Psychology is a remarkably broad field and its premiere professional organization, the APA, and its Division 47, Society for Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology, reflect that diversity.

Apr 04

Ware & Rice: A Case of Beauty and the Beast

By Dr. Jack Singer | Elite Athletes , Public Melt Downs

Louisville Guard Kevin Ware vs. Rutgers Basketball Coach Mike Rice: A Case of Beauty and the Beast

By Jack Singer, Ph.D.
Licensed Sport Psychologist

Kevin Ware injury

What a week of extremes this has been in college basketball.

Twenty year-old guard, Kevin Ware, had one of the most horrific injuries ever witnessed, when he broke his tibia in two places, during a crucial game with Duke. With his leg snapped almost completely in half and bone protruding six inches, Kevin’s coach and teammates were frozen in shock at what they just witnessed. Yet, Kevin then shows the selflessness and maturity to tell his team and coach to forget about him and “just go win the game.”

A few days later, videos are released showing forty-one year old Rutgers Coach Mike Rice having melt downs and temper tantrums with his players during practices. Rice is seen shoving, grabbing and throwing balls at players at close range, as well as using gay slurs to apparently insult them into playing better.  Of course, the code for players is not to blow the whistle on their coach, because that shows weakness and their scholarship could even be threatened.

Between Rice and Ware, we see a marked contrast in emotional control, maturity and judgment during crucial times. Ware is in control, while Rice is clearly not.To say that Rice needs to learn anger management is a ridiculous understatement, yet he was given the job despite apparently behaving this way in previous coaching positions.

Of course, the big losers in this scenario are the Rutgers players themselves, who are now in limbo, awaiting a new coaching staff and probably a new learning curve for the playing style of that staff.  And who can measure the hit that the victims of Rice’s abuse took to their self-esteem?

Coaches who use intimidation and insults to motivate their players are committing a fraud to the families of those players whom they recruited.  How many parents would have allowed their sons to sign with coaches if they owed up to their abusive tactics and showed videos of those tactics in action, when they made their home visits?  How many talented players fall by the wayside because they will not tolerate such treatment, so they quit, often dropping out of school because they cannot afford to continue without a scholarship, and ending their dreams of a professional career?

This mode of coaching would never survive in the NBA, where the players have all of the power, so coaches like Rice cannot use the excuse that they are preparing their charges for the rigors of professional basketball with such tactics.

It’s time that we blow the whistle on coaches who do not have the maturity to control their emotions. We need to quickly weed them out. All coaches should take a lesson from a twenty year-old, named Kevin Ware, and put their teams ahead of their self-serving egos.

 

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

About the Author:

Dr. Jack Singer is a professional speaker, trainer and psychologist. He has been speaking for and training Fortune 1000 companies, associations, CEO’s and elite athletes for 34 years. Among the association conventions which Dr. Jack has keynoted are those which serve financial planners.

Dr. Jack is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX SPORTS and countless radio talk shows across the U.S. and Canada. He is the author of “The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide,” and several series of hypnotic audio programs, some specifically for athletes and some for anyone wanting to raise their self-confidence and esteem.

In his speaking presentations, Dr Jack teaches sales and financial services professionals the exact same skills he teaches to elite and world champion athletes to Develop & Maintain the Mindset of a Champion!

To learn more about Dr. Singer’s speaking and consulting services, please visit DrJackSinger.com and FunSpeaker.com or call him in the U.S. at (800) 497-9880.

Mar 25

Major Upsets Are Predictable in Sports

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Elite Athletes

By Jack Singer, Ph.D.
Licensed and Certified Sport Psychologist

For the seventh time in NCAA tournament history — and the third time in the last two years — a 15-seed has defeated a 2-seed. Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) defeated Georgetown 78-68 in FGCU’s first-ever NCAA tournament game. And, they added to their resume by becoming the first 15th seed to get into the Sweet 16, by then beating a much higher seeded San Diego State team. You ask, “How could this happen?” How can a David beat a Goliath? ”

We see it every year in team as well as individual sports.  For example, wild card qualifiers in professional tennis (that is, someone who has won in minor tournaments, but does not have enough points to regularly enter major professional tennis tournaments) upset highly seeded, world-ranked players, who draw these seemingly easy players early in tournament play.

It’s all about the Fight/Flight/Freeze (FFF) Nervous System.

This nervous system has been passed down to all of us genetically since we lived in caves and frequently had to avoid being killed by a myriad of predators.  The system is hard-wired to switch on as soon as the subconscious mind perceives the presence of a potentially life threatening situation.

Once the system switches on, a whole host of physiological processes spring into action, each one playing a role in helping the person evade or fight off the predator. For example, arm and leg muscles quickly tighten, in order to be at full efficiency for fight or flight; the heart rate speeds up, in order to pump nutritious blood to the brain for efficiency; breathing rapidly increases, in order to rapidly bring oxygen throughout the respiratory system and quickly eliminate carbon dioxide; and adrenalin is pumped into the blood stream from the adrenal glands, in order to make the person alert and have short bursts of energy.  The key word here is “short.”  The FFF is programmed to function over a few minutes and then the body needs to rest and recover from all of these physiological changes.  If the system stays on for more than a few minutes, exhaustion is a likely consequence.

Self-Talk and the Mind-Body Connection.

Negative Self-TalkIt is a known axiom that an athlete’s performance at any given time equals her/his natural talent, minus distractions.  Distractions can be external, such as being distracted by the cheering for your opponent.  But the most common distraction all athletes face is their own internal dialogue–their self-talk. There is a broad body of research showing that thoughts translate instantly to every cell (and muscle) in the body.  Where positive thoughts “switch on” the nervous system that relaxes the body, negative thoughts “switch on” the FFF. The more the negative self-talk, the more the distractions, leading to poorer performance than the pure talent would predict.

With this in mind, think about what happens when an athlete says to himself: “I hope we don’t blow this,” or “If we lose to this team, we’ll be so embarrassed and will disappoint our conference and our fans.”  The underdog rarely has such thoughts.  He (or they) are not expected to win, so they can go out, have fun and do their best.  The pressure is all on the favorite not to choke or blow it against the underdog.  Negative thoughts are much more likely, then, to occur among the favored players.

Worry/Negative Self-talk Triggers the FFF System by Default.  Here’s the problem in a nutshell:  We humans have evolved to the point that the subconscious mind does not wait to determine if there is life threatening danger; instead, whenever a person worries or fills his/her head with negative self-talk, this triggers the FFF system. It’s as if the subconscious mind is not going to take any chances and at the first sign of worrying, it protectively triggers the FFF. Consequently, an athlete just thinking about how embarrassing it would be for the team, and how humiliating it would be for himself to lose to this huge underdog is enough to trigger the FFF System.

And…the natural consequence of switching the system on (e.g., arm and leg muscle tightening, rapid breathing, increased heart rate) leads to rapid fatigue after a few minutes.  So, imagine how this is compounded as the game moves on, the favored team or athlete is struggling, the negative thoughts magnify, the FFF stays switched on, and fatigue mounts.

This progression undermines self-confidence. and a lack of self-confidence leads to more negative self-talk, so the circle of unfortunate outcomes continues.

Preventing FFF Triggers. Teams and individual athletes all need to learn relaxation techniques to engage in prior to and especially during games. Staying relaxed, despite the circumstances, plus, keeping thoughts and expectations positive, prevents the onset of the FFF.

If negative thoughts creep in, then the athlete needs to slap his thigh, and tell himself to “Stop these thoughts immediately!” Then, he needs to replace those thoughts with positive thoughts, such as:

“I trust my skills, I will continue to play aggressively, regardless of the score. I (we) won several games before, after falling behind, so just relax, stay focused on success, and trust my skills.”

For a basketball player, here is the sequence of events that typically takes place:

  • Negative Self-Talk (e.g., fear related to losing) → Negative Emotions → Muscle Tightness → Uncomfortable Shooting Motion +Inconsistent Focus = Poorer, Inconsistent Performance 
  • Positive Self-Talk (e.g., expecting to succeed) → Positive Emotions → Relaxed Muscles → Easy, Flowing Shooting Motion + Consistent Focus  = Better, Consistent Performance

Upsets are inevitable in sports, but their frequency is certainly under the control of the favored athletes.  They must become aware of their self-talk, eliminate the negative thoughts and beliefs, change them to positive thoughts, and maintain positive expectations, quickly bouncing back from inevitable setbacks during the game.

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

About the Author:

Dr. Jack Singer is a professional speaker, trainer and psychologist. He has been speaking for and training Fortune 1000 companies, associations, CEO’s and elite athletes for 34 years. Among the association conventions which Dr. Jack has keynoted are those which serve financial planners.

Dr. Jack is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX SPORTS and countless radio talk shows across the U.S. and Canada. He is the author of “The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide,” and several series of hypnotic audio programs, some specifically for athletes and some for anyone wanting to raise their self-confidence and esteem.

In his speaking presentations, Dr Jack teaches sales and financial services professionals the exact same skills he teaches to elite and world champion athletes to Develop & Maintain the Mindset of a Champion!

To learn more about Dr. Singer’s speaking and consulting services, please visit DrJackSinger.com and FunSpeaker.com or call him in the U.S. at (800) 497-9880.

Feb 18

Are Professional Sports Organizations Doing Enough to Protect Their Athletes?

By Dr. Jack Singer | Elite Athletes

by Dr. Jack Singer, Professional Sports Psychologist

Rafael NadalThe NFL has finally been forced to look into the frightening issue of brain damage, following years of anecdotal evidence regarding concussion syndrome among their football players.  As a result of autopsies of deceased players, we are learning new terms, such as “chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, that results from years of head pounding.

Lawsuits from the families of former NFL players, citing brain injuries caused by years of violent play, have finally forced the NFL to take a look at prevention.  But the efforts are painfully slow, partially because the violence itself is one of the attractions of football to fans.  How many deaths, suicides and spontaneous homicides will it take for the NFL to get really serious about this?  Perhaps dramatic increases in health, life and liability insurance premiums for the NFL will stimulate faster action.

And it’s not just publicized examples of suicides, murders, dementia and memory loss that result from so many head injuries that is the problem. There are less dramatic effects that plague so many ex players. For example, we see the sad sight of retired players hobbled on knees and legs ravaged by injury and mega surgeries.  We see ex-athletes become addicted to alcohol and medications in order to deal with their constant pain.

During my career, many professional football players come to me in order to help them recover from the mental toll that injuries place on them. They would frequently complain that their coaches ignored them once they get injured. It’s like “you can’t help us win now, so I don’t have time for you.”  Indeed, many players hide injuries as long as they can so that they will not be shelved on the scrap heap of inactive playing status.

As fans we are thrilled watching our favorite athletes on the field of play.  Rarely do we concern ourselves with the career ending injuries or long-term physical and emotional damage that our heroes suffer.

To its credit, the NFL has begun to put together clinics to address mental health and emotional issues for active and retired players.  Life Line, is a 24-hour crisis counseling service for current and former NFL players, coaches, team staff and family members.  But phone contact with counselors during a crisis is not the answer.  Preventive mental health services, conducted face to face is necessary!

Major League Baseball is on the forefront of prohibiting steroid use, primarily to make the playing field even among athletes, but the end result is protecting those athletes from the long term (as yet undetermined) effects of steroids.

Today, courageous professional tennis player, Rafael Nadal, chastised the ATP, claiming that increasing the number of hard court events shows little concern for the bodies of professional tennis players.  For future generations, it would be good to see a less aggressive tennis life,” he said. “Not only because of what happens during your career, but also because of what happens after your career, about how is your body when your tennis career is over.” 

Nadal worries that because of the pounding his body has taken, once his career ends, he may not even be able to play recreational tennis.

All professional sports associations need to look into these issues, now. Hopefully, other contact sports, such as hockey, boxing, and soccer will not wait for their players to sue for degenerative and brain-related injuries, before they are motivated to develop preventive strategies.

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

About the Author:

Dr. Jack Singer is a professional speaker, trainer and psychologist. He has been speaking for and training Fortune 1000 companies, associations, CEO’s and elite athletes for 34 years. Among the association conventions which Dr. Jack has keynoted are those which serve financial planners.

Dr. Jack is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX SPORTS and countless radio talk shows across the U.S. and Canada. He is the author of “The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide,” and several series of hypnotic audio programs, some specifically for athletes and some for anyone wanting to raise their self-confidence and esteem. To learn more about Dr. Singer’s speaking and consulting services, please visit DrJackSinger.com and FunSpeaker.com or call him in the U.S. at (800) 497-9880.

Jan 16

The ‘Armstrong Syndrome’

By Dr. Jack Singer | Elite Athletes

The Ongoing Saga of Sports Figures Who Shock Us, By Lying, Cheating and Stealing From Us Our Role Models and Heroes

by Dr. Jack Singer

Lance Armstrong and Oprah WinfryFirst it’s major league baseball players blatantly lying about using performance enhancing doping to give themselves an edge. The consequences of that behavior were shown clearly last week when the baseball writer’s voted none of these superstars (those who had doping allegations against them) into the Hall of Fame this year, despite their illustrious careers.

And now, we have perhaps the saddest case of all. We all idolized Lance Armstrong for his ability to overcome cancer and still win a record seven consecutive Tour De France championships  between 1999 and 2005. We cherished the idea that no matter what happens to us, we can focus on a goal and still attain it. Disease be damned!

Sadly, now we learn that Armstrong was cheating the system after all despite vociferous and expensive claims to the contrary. We can posit that the best reason for doing this would be that he needed to achieve the ultimate so that everyone with a disease or other handicap who believed in Armstrong could still hope for their own ultimate success in achieving their goals.

However, on the upcoming Oprah interview, he admitted that his doping began prior to his cancer diagnosis, so his intent was not connected to giving others hope. In fact, the doping itself could possibly have exacerbated his condition.

The more likely reason for his doping and denial is that he possesses a narcissistic personality disorder, where his image and self-esteem are paramount. The attention he derived is and was addicting. There may even be some psychopathic elements in his personality, where in a Machiavellian way, any means to maintaining that image is justified, even lying and portraying a false heroic image to his admirers. There is little conscience involved here.

People do not have a serious personality disorder and then suddenly have an epiphany that results in a tug at their conscience. So why admit this now after fighting for so long to prove otherwise? The speculation is that the admission is seen as a means to an end… a way to gain something. In his case, it may be the (probably forlorn hope) that the lifetime racing ban will be reduced to a manageable number of years, so that perhaps he can continue to pursue his profession once the ban lifts.

This reminds me of a certain baseball player, who after years of defiantly denying the charges against him, suddenly admits to his crime, in order to be elected into the Hall of Fame, but still denying that he did anything wrong.

When asked if Armstrong seemed sincerely contrite in his “confession,” Oprah deferred her answer to the viewers. This certainly sounds like she was not convinced. She also said she did not believe that “He came clean in the manner which I expected.”

So, what do we make of this latest example of a world renowned athlete, role model, and for some, a hero, who lied and cheated his way to the top of the podium? We tend to be a forgiving people. We have forgiven presidents who appear genuinely contrite, we forgive powerful clergymen who appear genuinely contrite, and we forgive athletes who appear genuinely contrite. Indeed, we have elevated such people to hero and role model status a second time… just consider Bill Clinton and Michael Vick, for example.

The proof of the pudding lies with the viewers of his interview with Oprah. Is it a heartfelt confession, along with the acknowledgement of the real harm he committed, both to his body and to his followers and competitors, or is it simply a means to the end of Armstrong’s ultimate goal of remaining atop the podium of popularity and admiration?

Regardless of what you conclude, this is another slap to the faces of the thousands athletes in all sports, who reach their dreams without cheating and through excessively hard work and devotion. These are the real heroes, whom we should admire.

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

About the Author:

Dr. Jack Singer is a professional speaker, trainer and psychologist. He has been speaking for and training Fortune 1000 companies, associations, CEO’s and elite athletes for 34 years. Among the association conventions which Dr. Jack has keynoted are those which serve financial planners.

Dr. Jack is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX SPORTS and countless radio talk shows across the U.S. and Canada. He is the author of “The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide,” and several series of hypnotic audio programs, some specifically for athletes and some for anyone wanting to raise their self-confidence and esteem. To learn more about Dr. Singer’s speaking and consulting services, please visit DrJackSinger.com and FunSpeaker.com or call him in the U.S. at (800) 497-9880.

Dec 05

Sport Psychology Tip of the Day: Maintaining Team Synergy

By Dr. Jack Singer | Applied Sports Psychology , Elite Athletes

by Jack Singer, Ph.D.
Licensed Sport/Clinical Psychologist

4 Critical Ways to Maintain Team Synergy During a Long Season

[contentbox width=”500″ borderwidth=”1″ borderstyle=”dashed” bordercolor=”000000″ dropshadow=”0″ backgroundcolor=”F5F5F5″ radius=”0″]This is the 5th of a series of cutting edge tips from the field of Sport Psychology to help you reach peak performance, both as an individual athlete and as a team. If you have any questions, please feel free to call Dr. Jack at 1-800-497-9880 or email him on the contact page.[/contentbox]

As a team goes through the trials and tribulations of a difficult season, internal dynamics can have as much to do with the success or failure of the team as does the competition.

Here are 4 tips to give your team a better chance of maintaining their mutual goals and success:

  1. Embrace Diversity.  Team chemistry thrives on team diversity, so that players balance each other out.  Encourage practical jokers, serious-all-the-time players, motivators, leaders, etc. for the best results.  Sort of like politics in the U.S.  We are much better with democrats, republicans and independents, each with different ideas and skill sets.
  2. Place Importance on Positive, Optimistic Feedback. Communicate encouraging, optimistic information to teammates, rather than critical, discouraging information.  Be aware that different players require different kinds of feedback to motivate them, so pay attention to the verbal and non verbal feedback you give each player.
  3. Provide Mutual Support, Regardless of the Situation. Team members who are supportive of their teammates and encouraging, regardless of mistakes made, put the team in the best position to overcome adversity.  The Golden Rule is always treat your teammates like you’d appreciate them treating you, under the same circumstances.
  4. Develop and Maintain Mutual Trust. Teammates need to trust that they are accepted, even on days where their performance is lacking.  They need to know that everyone on the team has their best interests in mind and that the whole will always achieve more than the separate individuals will.  This is particularly important where teammates are competing with each other for starting positions.  Team should be first…not individual goals or desires.  

Core Sports Performance

You know the importance of training your muscles. But you should also know the importance of training your mind. It’s no secret that elite athletes like Tiger Woods, Ken Norton (who used hypnosis training before his famous victory where he broke Mohammad Ali’s jaw), and Nolan Ryan all used hypnosis to propel them to the next level.

Now, you can acquire these same techniques, and reap the benefits of unconscious peak-performance training.

In just four sessions, Dr. Jack’s unique hypnosis techniques and visualization exercises will help you fully utilize your unconscious mind for peak sports performance. You’ll learn to enlist all facets of your consciousness to help you overcome obstacles. Each session will take you into deeper states of relaxation and focus.

All athletes train hard. But less than 1% know how to apply the techniques you’ll learn from Dr. Jack Singer’s Core Sports Performance program. Hypnosis can make the difference for every athlete who wants to gain a competitive edge. Click here to purchase.

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

About the Author:

Dr. Jack Singer is a professional speaker, trainer and psychologist. He has been speaking for and training Fortune 1000 companies, associations, CEO’s and elite athletes for 34 years.  Among the association conventions which Dr. Jack has keynoted are those which serve financial planners.

Dr. Jack is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX SPORTS and countless radio talk shows across the U.S. and Canada.  He is the author of “The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide,” and several series of hypnotic audio programs, some specifically for athletes and some for anyone wanting to raise their self-confidence and esteem. To learn more about Dr. Singer’s speaking and consulting services, please visit  DrJackSinger.com and FunSpeaker.com or call him in the U.S. at (800) 497-9880.

Oct 31

The Elusive “Mental Toughness” Ability

By Dr. Jack Singer | Applied Sports Psychology , Elite Athletes , General

by Dr. Jack Singer
Licensed Sport Psychologist

The Elusive Mental Toughness Ability by Dr. Jack Singer, Licensed Sport PsychologistCoaches, players, parents and the like are always asking me how to help their athletes become more “mentally tough.”

Is this an inherited trait, or a learned ability?

The answer is that “Mental Toughness” is definitely an ability that can be developed through repetitive training of some relatively simple skills.

The 4 C’s of Mental Toughness:

  • Control
  • Commitment
  • Challenge
  • Confidence

Mental toughness involves teaching athletes how to take Control of their performance (rather than feeling they have little control over it), maintaining a Commitment to their goals, embrace the Challenge of performing their best, and feel the Confidence that they can perform their best when it matters the most. Of course, there are many ways of teaching these skills, but the one I prefer involves the following 5 steps:

  1. Take a deep Centering Breath, breathing in through your nose to the count of 4, holding it for 4 and exhaling completely out of your mouth to the count of 7.
  2. Repeat a statement to yourself that focuses you on what it takes to be a success at your sport. Repeat it several times. For example, a baseball player can say to himself, “relax, breath, track the ball, smooth swing.”
  3. Visualize your best performance ever and imagine yourself repeating that performance again, taking in everything you see, hear, feel, etc. from the original performance.
  4. Repeat your personal Identity Statement, which boosts your self-confidence. Remind yourself of your greatest athletic strength and project it into the future as if you are already an all star performer, for example.
  5. Repeat the Centering Breath.

This Mental Toughness routine can be learned by any athlete and it takes only a few minutes to repeat each day and before your competition. If you are consistent, this simple routine will lead you to the winner’s edge!

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

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About the Author:

Dr. Jack Singer is a professional speaker, trainer and psychologist. He has been speaking for and training Fortune 1000 companies, associations, CEO’s and elite athletes for 34 years.  Among the association conventions which Dr. Jack has keynoted are those which serve financial planners.

Dr. Jack is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX SPORTS and countless radio talk shows across the U.S. and Canada.  He is the author of “The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide,” and several series of hypnotic audio programs, some specifically for athletes and some for anyone wanting to raise their self-confidence and esteem. To learn more about Dr. Singer’s speaking and consulting services, please visit  DrJackSinger.com and FunSpeaker.com or call him in the U.S. at (949) 497-9880.

Sep 13

Coaching by Intimidation Does NOT Work

By Dr. Jack Singer | Applied Sports Psychology , Children and Family , Elite Athletes

To all parents of athletes who have to deal with arrogant, hostile, insulting coaches:

Coaches bullying kidsDuring my 33 years as a Professional Sport Psychologist, I have been disheartened by the volume of young athletes who describe coaches that “coach” by intimidation, threats and humiliation.  While I understand that many of these coaches are successful, what the coaches don’t seem to understand is that their success is a result of motivated young athletes who will tolerate these methods, rather than the method itself being the reason for the success.”

Every year, so many parents bring youngsters to me who are stellar, gifted athletes, but they want to quit their sport.  Afraid to say it’s because of the coach’s methods, for fear of looking weak, they come up with mysterious injuries and a whole host of reasons to describe why they no longer have the passion for the sport.

Most coaches don’t conduct exit interviews to determine why their charges quit, or switch coaches; instead, they write them off as wimps who couldn’t take the pressure.  Moreover, many parents get upset with their youngsters after all of the years of sacrifice and expense.

Now a well researched article documenting the plight of  youngsters who are “forced” to tolerate such coaches and parental pressure to continue, has been published.  Stay tuned for my summary of that article.  As a parent, or a coach, these findings will be eye opening!”

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer


Jul 05

Sports Psychologists now working with the Olympic teams

By Dr. Jack Singer | Applied Sports Psychology , Blog , Elite Athletes

Sport Psychology and the Olympics 

By Jack Singer, Ph.D.
Licensed and Certified Clinical/Sport Psychologist

Sport Psychology and the Olympics by Dr. Jack SingerIt seems like every time the Olympics roll around the burgeoning field of “Sport Psychology” gets the recognition it deserves, because most of our teams employ sport psychologists to prepare the team and each athlete and work with them throughout the Games.

This summer is no exception.  In the last 20 years, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has increased the number of full-time sport psychologists from one to six.  In addition to these full-time psychologists, each team and many individual athletes use consulting sport psychologists to help them with such techniques as imagery, visualization, mental toughness, relaxation, positive self-talk and many other interventions.

Beginning two to four years before the Olympics, USOC sport psychologists spend approximately 100 days a year on the road with the athletes, taking them through their training camps and matches leading up to the Games.

Senior sport psychologist Sean McAnn works with both teams and individuals, with emphases on such skills as maintaining their focus, enhancing their performance, raising their self-confidence and communications skills with teammates and coaches.

Any team sport magnifies potential issues, such as the different personalities of teammates, ego issues and individuals used to always being on top,  and the dynamics of individual champions now pulling together for the sake of the entire team.

The key roles of sport psychologists have taken on more and more importance in the development of both individual and team sports.  And the skill sets these professionals bring to the athletes are critical determinants in their ultimate success.

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

Dr. Jack Singer’s Professional Biography

Dr. Jack Singer is a licensed Clinical, Sports and Industrial/Organizational Psychologist, author, trainer and consultant. His expertise includes a Doctorate in Industrial / Organizational Psychology and a Post-Doctorate in Clinical / Sports Psychology. Jack has been recognized with Diplomates from the American Academy of Behavioral Medicine, the Society of Police and Criminal Psychology, and he has been awarded with a special Diplomate in Sports Psychology from the National Institute of Sports Professionals. He has a special Certification in Clinical Hypnosis from the American Academy of Clinical Hypnosis and Jack has taught in the Psychology departments of seven universities, including four years as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Dr. Jack Singer has been in private practice and consulting for 33 years and the rich variety of Dr. Jack’s experience ranges from training serious athletes and teams to consistently reach peak performance levels…to working with couples and families to resolve relationship issues .to designing teambuilding ‘re-TREATS’ for Fortune 1000 corporations, and large legal and medical practices. His goal is to provide all of his clients with a SAFE, CONFIDENTIAL, and OPTIMISTIC environment in which to help them resolve their difficulties and reach their goals! In short, his passion is to help them to add life to their years and years to their lives!

 

 

May 30

The Athlete’s Secret Weapon is His or Her Mind

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Elite Athletes , Sports Hypnosis

Dr. Jack Singer, Specialist in Sports Performance

Even football legend John Madden knew the importance of an athlete keeping his mind in the game in order to win. He once famously said, “Half of football is 90% mental.”

Even if his math is off, his statement is 100% correct.

Dr. Jack Singer, Ph.D., has also been well aware of the importance of a clear, focused mental state and how it affects the athlete’s performance on the field, on the court, or in the ring. For the past 30 years, he has been helping athletes of all ages and sports to perform at their peak by adding in sports hypnosis to their training.

By now you may be asking: What is Sports Hypnosis?

Click here to hear from Dr. Jack himself about what exactly this often over-looked phenomenon is and how he can help you to up your game!

Regards,

Cam Marcus
Co-Founder
The Hypnosis Network
817-566-0050

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

May 10

A Young Gymnast Excels in Her Sport

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Elite Athletes

Congratulations to my mentally tough workhorse, Ashton Woodbury.

As her proud dad wrote, “Ashton had her Level 7 State Championship meet this weekend.  Going into the meet, she had 3 goals:

  1. Stay on the beam
  2. Win vault
  3. And score a 38 in the all-around (which she had never done before).

Ashton Woodbury - CA State Vault Champion. Client of sports psychologist Dr. Jack Singer.

Well, she did all three!  Ashton is the newly crowned CA State Vault Champion.  She also medaled on Bars, Floor, and Beam (all with personal bests), and was second in the All-Around with a 38.00.  Her teammate (and good friend) was the all-around champion, with a score of 38.10.”

Ashton is well on her way to gymnastics stardom.  I am so proud to have helped her along the way!

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

Apr 23

Bobby Petrino – Another Moral Failure

By Dr. Jack Singer | Elite Athletes , General

An article about Bobby Petrino by Sports Psychologist Jack Singer.What a crying shame.

Now we have to add Coach Bobby Petrino of the Arkansas Razorbacks to the ever-growing list of morally failed athletes and trainers. Coach Petrino now joins the ranks of  Michael Vick, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Pete Rose, Marion Jones, Joe Paterno and Tiger Woods. Just to name a few.

Once again, sports fans are shocked into the reality that regardless of athletic or coaching excellence, fame, and fortune, their “heroes” can actually be remarkably foolish people who possess a over-developed sense of entitlement and exercise exceedingly poor judgment.

The truth is that being a great athlete or coach does not compensate for faulty values and questionable judgment.  Yet, once again we have placard waving fans imploring the authorities to give him a pass and allow him to be a role model for our young athletes and fans. Fortunately, athletic director Jeff Long did the right thing and the support for firing Bobby Petrino continues to roll in and now it’s taken monetary form.

Of course, no one is squeaky clean.  We certainly have had our share of revered religious figures who stunned us with their behind the scenes activities. Recall the scandals with Catholic priests and some popular evangelistic leaders. And what about our political, film, music and TV celebrities who do stupid things, and then lie about it until they look like idiots? Sometimes drugs and alcohol play a role, but that also involves poor judgment, right?

We say to ourselves…”If I had all of that money and fame, I’d never risk it with drugs, alcohol, or gambling.”  “If I had a wife and family like he does, I’d never look around for other women.”

Alas, everyone has the temptation and opportunity to make inappropriate decisions in their lives. Whether they can get away with something should never enter the equation…instead, they should ask themselves whether their children and parents would be proud of their choices.

Real heroes recognize that when faced with temptation, the choice is ultimately theirs and they have an obligation to themselves and their families to make the right choice, every time.

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

Apr 09

Meet Ashton – A Competitive Gymnast

By Dr. Jack Singer | Applied Sports Psychology , Blog , Elite Athletes

I love to share inspiring stories from my young athlete clients. Ashton is a wonderful young lady and a truly talented athlete and it is a joy working with her.

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Our 10 year-old daughter, Ashton, is a competitive gymnast and was excited about the beginning of her Level 7 season.  Her confidence, however, became somewhat rattled when she fell of the balance beam in consecutive meets while performing the same skill (back handspring, back handspring).

Although not devastated (she was able to hit the skill in practice with consistency), she told us she just couldn’t visualize herself doing it well in competition; she was overcome, instead, with negative thoughts.

Meeting with Dr. Jack turned out to be the best thing we did all season.  Ashton listened to the audio tape he made for her every day before practice, and before every remaining meet – and she applied the strategies that Dr. Jack had given her for overcoming her negative thoughts.  She never fell again.  In fact, at the 2012 California State Championships, Ashton medaled on the beam with her highest score of the year.

She also medaled and had personal bests on bars,  floor exercise, and vault (state champion), and finished 2nd in the all-around by a mere tenth of a point – exceeding even her expectations.  It was a wonderful season for Ashton, and she is poised for many more to come.  We are truly grateful to Dr. Jack for the time he spent with her.

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Ashton Beam

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

Nov 09

What Has Happened to Accountability in Athletic Organizations?

By Dr. Jack Singer | Elite Athletes , General

Sports Pyschologist Dr. Jack Singer discusses the Coach Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandalThis new and startling revelation about Coach Jerry Sandusky, the Penn State Defensive Coordinator who was arrested Saturday on 40 criminal counts of child sex abuse, is yet another example of “Let’s hope this will just go away by not making it public.”

Was there ever a concern for the victims in this case by the university and those within the football program? Was there ever a concern in that organization that by not informing the police, that the perpetrator was free to carry out his demented desires with untold other victims?

University administrators were aware that a graduate assistant had seen Sandusky attacking a young boy in the team’s locker room shower in 2002. However, even though Sandusky was prohibited from holding youth sports camps on campus in 2002, he continued to hold them through 2008 under his Sandusky Associates company at the university’s Behrend campus, just outside Erie. Further, it is being reported by a person familiar with Sandusky’s relationship with Penn State that the former coach long maintained an office in the East Area Locker building which is across the street from the Penn State football team’s building, and was on campus as recently as week ago working out.

We see this all the time:  athletes or coaches with addictive issues are protected so that they can continue to perform for the team; domestic violence is almost an acceptable behavior if the athlete is one of the stars of the team; coaches who abuse their athletes describe their victims as wimps, or worse (e.g., “This is nothing.  You should have seen how my coaches treated me!”).

Why is it that the everyday Joe is accountable, but many star athletes and coaches (as well as celebrities in any arena) get a free pass, unless the media get wind of their behaviors)? Think Lindsay Lohan here.

It’s time to make every individual, regardless of his/her popularity, power or importance to the team accountable for their behaviors.

The Michael Vick’s of sports have paid for their deeds, but I fear that they represent only the tip of the iceberg.  Furthermore, these cover-ups tarnish the image of the majority of athletes and coaches who lead clean lives, tending to their families, and appreciating the gifts that the Almighty has bestowed on them.

Jack Singer, Ph.D.
Licensed and Certified Clinical & Sport Psychologist

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

Nov 08

Rest In Peace Joe Frazier

By Dr. Jack Singer | Elite Athletes , General

Joe Frazier was a goal-directed athlete, with no fluff or need for building his image with the public. He just wanted to do his best in every fight and then go home. Modern fighters need to take lessons from Smokin’ Joe Frazier. Just perfect your craft and your image will take care of itself!

R.I.P Joe!